Saturday, March 22, 2014

Farewell to a beloved Grizzly Bear

He was my lifeline when I was drowning in motherhood.  He licked plates and floors and ate crumbs and when I wasn’t looking, he cleaned out the high chair, too.

 He drove me crazy while he kept me sane, never chewing a shoe but in engraving his dreams into every piece of bedroom furniture we had.  He slept next to our bed for seven and a half years, one month short of the entire length of our marriage.

 He caught mice and trapped possums and wrestled gently with the rooster and the kids.  He minded the babies while I did chores, and kept them safe in one spot.  He stole well deserved eggs and let us cry on his shoulders, arms wrapped around his hairy, fluffy neck.  He kept the coyotes at bay and played with the cats.

His priorities changed when our priorities changed.  He went from puppy to big brother the minute we brought Brayden home and never looked back, although we did.  We have so many funny memories of him.  Like taking him ski jorning in the mountains and Grizzle pulling me on my skies and making the snow fly.  Jeremiah and I driving through the mountains to pick up our wedding gift to each other, this tiny greased streak of black lightning, and when we stopped at the gas station after picking him up, he hoped out of the car and into the first greasy, oily mud puddle he could find.  We were a little bit nervous when at just a few months old, he could pull the easy chair across the living room, just by the skirt of the chair.

He was happy, chasing us around with his food dish, begging for more, like he wasn’t eating four cups of kibble, table scraps and his stolen eggs.

 He let other people cry on his shoulders, too.  A stranger at Big R took one look at him and sat down with him on the floor to mourn the loss of her Great Bernese Mountain dog.  And he just held her while she cried.

 He refused to be separated from us and when we stayed with Deandra and Tim, he figured out how to open the garage door, let himself and all of the heat out, and ran around the house howling until he found us.  No matter where we lived, Montana or Minnesota, he found a window from which to watch us and make sure everything was okay.  That is where we found him after he passed away, laying in the sun and snow, watching over his babies in the family room.

 He worried so much over the kids that when Jeremiah and Brayden and Jack were pulled off the beach on a tube behind the boat, he swam after them and wouldn’t come back until I held up Charlotte, and showed him she was still there, still needed him.

Are you okay?
I'm okay Grizzly Bear.  I'm okay.

Go ahead, meet Charlotte.

This summer when it was hot and he wasn’t feeling well, I laid on his bed with him and asked him to stay and help me raise just one more baby.  Be my confidant, my constant companion, my helper and crumb licker for just one more baby.  And he did.  His last baby turned one only four days after he passed away.  I wish I would have asked him to stay for 10 more years. 


He passed away by the window.  Watching the kids, just like he always, always did.  
We are so grateful we got to be his family.

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